LACONIA — As local residents begin to plan their holiday shopping missions, a couple of local organizations are asking that they consider picking up a new family member. The week following Thanksgiving is a good time to adopt a pet, according to two local humane societies.
"Life has slowed down a little bit, people are in their routine, it's a good time for the whole family," said Molly King Lounsbury, development assistant at New Hampshire Humane Society in Laconia. Welcoming a dog or cat into a home in early December gives the animal a chance to acquaint itself with its new surroundings and family members before the excitement and turbulence of the holidays arrive.
To make the adoptions more convenient for shoppers, the New Hampshire Humane Society will have a couple dozen dogs and puppies to the Belknap Mall on Nov. 27 for its Black Friday Adopt-a-thon. From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., the society will be offering same-day adoptions, for the fee of $325 for adult dogs, $375 for puppies and $125 for senior dogs. Those hoping to take advantage of the adopt-athon should bring proof of home ownership or a lease agreement that shows that pets are permitted, and vaccination records for other pets in the home. All family members, including other dogs, should come to meet the prospective pet, and adopters must be 21 or older.
King Lounsbury said the trip to the Belknap Mall would be too stressful for cats, so they will be staying at the Humane Society. They have so many of them – more than 100, in fact – that the society will be hosting "Caturday" on the day after Black Friday.
The Lakes Region Humane Society, in Ossipee, also has a cascade of cats.
"We are up to our ears in cats," said Megan Fichter, managing director.
She agreed that the end of November and early December are good times for adoption. She likes to see the animals go to homes before the first of the year so that they don't get stuck at the shelter all winter.
Fichter said the traffic at the shelter slows down in the fall, when summer residents head south and locals turn their attention to school and work. There's a bump in interest immediately after Thanksgiving, which lasts through December.
"If any animals are left here, they're stuck for a couple of months," she said. "January, February, March are about dead here. We want to get as many animals that are here out of here before that lag hits."
For those considering adoption, Fichter suggested starting by researching the websites of local humane societies. If there's interest in a particular animal, Fichter said potential adopters should call first to ensure that the animal is still available and to inquire about the adoption application process. She also suggested that potential adopters decide what type of pet would best fit into the lifestyle that they lead. An energetic puppy is endearing at the shelter, but may be problematic in a sedate home.
"Try and stick to that [mindset], so you and the animal will be happier," she said.
The Franklin Animal Shelter also has animals available for adoption. It's a smaller shelter, only accepting animals from Franklin, either as strays or surrenders. As of Friday, manager Charlotte Rice said there were four dogs, two cats and two kittens available. She agreed that it was better to bring a new animal into a home during the relative calm of early December, yet she wouldn't try and dissuade someone who wanted their children to wake up to find a new pet on Christmas morning. "There's a lot of commotion at Christmas time, but anytime is a good time to adopt. If someone is willing to take in an animal and give it a good home, anytime is great for that."